Safety Is the Point

September 24, 2022
Kendra Bass
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
My name is Kendra Bass currently enrolled at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and planning to graduate May 2023! I am a Biology/Pre-Med major with a minor in nutrition. I live out my dog mom life with my chocolate lab named Jasmine. I love to dance I am currently learning ball room dancing although I was a competitive dancer in high school. I have been diabetic for two and a half years diagnosed at 18 years old. I am involved with American Medical Student Association, BioME and have been starting a Link chapter at my school.

Going back to school with a diagnosis such as diabetes was very confusing and challenging. I was lucky enough to live at home and go to college because my school is across town. Even so, I was unsure what to do with my needles due to using a pen my first year of diagnosis and constantly using lancets until approved for a Dexcom. Luckily, most bathrooms in my building had a sharps container. But not always and sometimes they were full or missing. So, living in Pennsylvania here are tips and tricks I use to safety dispose of my needles.

“I was unsure what to do with my needles due to using a pen my first year of diagnosis and constantly using lancets until approved for a Dexcom.”

First, you need a thick and sturdy plastic container these can include peanut containers, laundry detergent bottles, peanut butter jars, jelly jars, or even old leftover containers. Use the container until it is about 75% full and when full take duct tape and secure the top and write with sharpie “DO NOT RECYCLE”. You can then dispose of it in the regular trash or take it to a disposal site such as Needle Disposal | Klingensmith’s ( I usually keep a peanut jar in my car or a small one in my backpack/purse for loose needles. I label the lid and keep it in a secure location to prevent lid being shook open. If you do not want to risk using recycled jars, bottles, and containers you can buy sharps containers in various sizes online or at local drug stores.

While at school I have learned that if your school does not have it…ask! Advocate for yourself and others who may have similar needs. Many schools’ disability center will be willing to help make sure that bathrooms at your school provide sharps containers for your convenience. Going to the office prepare why you need this to be included at the school. How it will help you and others and how to take care of containers that become full. Another extra tip is when traveling to a hotel you can ask at the front desk for a sharp’s container, and it can be brought up to your room for your stay. Note that you NEVER want to throw your loose needles in recycling or the trash. Do not throw away in trash without being stored in a durable plastic container. Do not try and flush needles down toilets.

Here are examples and links to proper containers for disposing of sharps:
Sharps Containers | Needle Disposal Boxes | Vitality Medical
Sharps Containers – : sharps containers

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